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tv   Headline News  RT  August 8, 2013 5:00pm-5:31pm EDT

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c.e.o. don de r t dot com. coming up on our t.v. while more is revealed about the expanding surveillance state here in the u.s. there are calls to rein in the programs we'll look at what options lawmakers may have when they return from the august recess ahead stepping up drone strikes in the middle east the u.s. has carried out strikes in yemen in recent days we'll look at what's behind these strikes coming up and later in our tech report in the world of social media like sin followers are worth big bucks but are people and organizations using web sites like twitter and facebook to show a false form of popularity that's later in the show. it's thursday august eighth five pm in washington d.c. i'm sam sax you're watching r.t.
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and we begin with the n.s.a.'s ongoing mass surveillance of americans speaking on a condition of anonymity and intelligence officials are shedding more light on the actual mechanisms by which the n.s.a. goes about scooping up out of belonging to american citizens published today in the new york times officials explain that targeting a foreign citizen with surveillance the n.s.a. cast a wide net on all communications flowing out of the united states that may be in direct contact with the foreign target or simply referencing the target or information related to the target officials go on to explain the n.s.a. is temporarily copying and then sifting through the contents of what is apparently most e-mails and other tech space communications that cross the border and official said that a computer searches the data for the identifying keywords or other selectors and stores those that match so that human analysts can later examine it there are many communications are the official said are deleted the entire process takes a small number of seconds. of course this is just one component of the massive
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surveillance apparatus that americans are just becoming aware of thanks to n.s.a. whistleblower edward snowden's leaks also this week reuters uncovered a parallel data collection program run out of the drug enforcement agency special operations division and this division gathers intelligence from multiple sources including the n.s.a. to assist in drug investigations although d.a.'s agents are instructed to hide the paper trail of this intelligence while conducting investigation it's since been revealed that the i.r.s. the f.b.i. the cia and the n.s.a. all cooperate with this special operations division now all of these revelations have sparked a fractious debate on capitol hill over the constitutionality of these domestic surveillance programs. lawmakers are on the recess for the month of august but left on the agenda for when they get back are a number of bills to restrict the n.s.a. spying programs and shed light on the secret fi's a court that oversees the legalities of these surveillance programs they range from
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aggressive reforms like congressman rush holt surveillance state repeal act which repealed both the patriot act in the phase amendments act to more modest reforms like ones floated by senate intel chairwoman dianne feinstein to limit the number of years the n.s.a. can store your collected data so while it does look like changes coming to the n.s.a. the question is who will lead the change and what will it look like now i was joined earlier by heidi big ocean executive director of the national lawyers guild from new york and brian doogan technologist at open technology institute here in d.c. and i started out by asking heidi if she thinks the n.s.a. leaks have raised enough attention to make congress passed some meaningful reform. there's no doubt that the leaks have changed the conscious in this of the country and i think that when the public is concerned hopefully if that leaks up to the legislators i think it's useful to look at the overall picture which is we're in
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a state of perpetual war and then many of the reforms that we're hearing about which is a good thing need to be taken in that context thomas jefferson said that it's very difficult to preserve our freedom when we're in the midst of perpetual war so i think it's a great start but there are specific things that can be done and people need to pressure legislators to do them so how do you would say that this can be drawn all the way back to the from two thousand and one that kind of short of the ball rolling on on this expanded war and expanded surveillance state. i think that the jargon of the war on terror has really preyed into the public fears allowed hastily passed legislation starting with the usa patriot act and then the pfizer reauthorization act warrantless wiretapping things that we don't know about secret legal interpretations to run amok in many ways brought i want to turn it over to
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you there's a number of options being floated around right now we have very strong options like what congressman rush holt is saying let's repeal the surveillance state by getting rid of the patriot act and the size of amendments act what do you what you make of that i think those are good first steps i think that. that tend to address the authority of the court to authorize all the way down to analysts to make that it to make the decision about whether or not data should be collected that's obviously way way out of bounds that authority needs to be put back in the executive branch and the but there are other bills on the docket being discussed right now that focus on government and corporate transparency and we've seen how that type of transparency has been limited in the past google has had a transparency put report for a couple of years now and that obviously did not include all of the data that was being collected at the time so there are good first steps but i think that you know
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there are there's an entire history of privacy legislation going back to the starting with. and through kaliya before the patriot act was passed that actually mandates certain types of surveillance that should also be addressed right heidi there's lawmakers have suggested and this goes to what brian was just saying about not just government but corporations kind of retaining our data a lot of lawmakers have come forward and said the government should get out of the business of collecting data telecom communications companies or telecom companies already doing this let's again. we rely on telecom companies to collect the data in the government can go to telecom companies with specific requests should would reform put aside a user is there still some money comfortable this about telecom companies storing all our data and being a rubber stamp for the government and handing it over to them the fact that private corporations in many cases military contractors conduct approximately seventy
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percent of the united states intelligence should be of enormous concern to americans they are not held accountable to the same constitutional strictures that our us government is and the authorities who took an oath to protect and uphold the constitution are effectively being let off the hook as corporations do their big business for them and the partnership between corporations and the government is a very tight one because of course corporations produce the equipment and analyze the information that is being used to gather this data. one of the big. motivators behind reform is that there needs to be transparency to these programs congresswoman zoe lofgren has introduced legislation to allow telecom companies to reveal how many requests they get and how many of their customers are being surveilled. senator al franken has introduced similar legislation in the senate
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that would also require the government to disclose this sort of information heidi would just informing people of how broad these programs are. work to encourage more people to push their lawmakers to push for even stronger reforms to these to these programs i think it's important that in addition to some of the court cases that are always ready being brought forward the electronic frontier foundation for example is going to be suing telecommunications providers which listeners and viewers should know was tried years ago but the government gave them and unity and also said that you couldn't prove with us or to tell you that you were being monitored now we know that's different i think that public outrage is very important as we saw in the seventy's with the church committee it was public outrage that called for a comprehensive investigation into cointelpro and covert spying on americans i hope that we harness some of that same outrage now and put pressure on companies and legislators to make things transparent breaded seems like that outrage is
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growing and there is movement building on the hill but i'm worried you have these reformers like rush holt and ron wyden who are pushing for strong reforms but then you also have people like senator dianne feinstein who are in mike rogers who are big proponents of these programs what sort of phony reforms might we see coming from that camp that might not really change anything like for example senator dianne feinstein says we should reduce the amount of years that data say can hold the data from five down to two is that something that we should be happy with if that's all we get well so that one. what the usefulness of this data is it goes into type of machine learning database and even after the original messages are deleted or supposedly deleted. new your data all of the data that's being collected still remains in these massive databases that are used to make these decisions so in some sense or other that data will always be there and will
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always be used to make decisions about whether or not analysts should pay attention to a specific communication or not so on some the technological level that only matters so much because names location information actual content will always remain in some form because that data will always be useful to the surveillance apparatus we had a former n.s.a. whistleblower russell tice on and he was talking about how the n.s.a. is basically surveilling everybody including senator obama several years ago and we heard. no to snowden to say that you know he could surveil the present united states from his desk is there a concern i want to both your inputs here in the last minute we have is there concern that the n.s.a. and the intelligence community has grown so large that it's impossible to rein in brian start with you yes absolutely there are something like a thousands and many many thousands of people in the united states with top secret
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level clearance it is impossible to maintain a level of trust the guarantees there will be no one who betrays you know the trust place within all those people as edward snowden did. obviously in the case of every diver snowden and for whistleblowing this is a great thing but it's impossible to maintain that level of loyalty for so many people how do you just last thirty seconds i mean how do we go about kind of tackling this giant that's been created with the n.s.a. well i think the awareness that this has become an information business it's enormously huge data center. in utah to analyze to hold computers to analyze this information people need to hold corporations accountable and i think the power that has been invested in this business apparatus has been enormous and it's really once again in the hands of the people to say i don't want to do business with these providers if you don't pull back what you've been doing you know for example don't
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build back doors into your equipment so the government and law enforcement can plug right in. that was heidi because an executor after the national lawyers guild brian doogan technologies had open technology institute thank you both thank you thank you meanwhile the white house and its intelligence agencies are hoping the utility of these spy programs may be enough to ward off efforts in congress to rein them in u.s. officials last week claim they intercepted in a media specific threat from al qaeda that led to a global terror warning in the closing of nearly two dozen diplomatic posts around the arabian peninsula the gulf and into africa on wednesday details of how that threat was intercepted was leaked to two defense journalists cozy with the pentagon read an article in the daily beast describing a legion of doom conference call between more than twenty al qaeda leaders and operatives around the world that was intercepted by u.s. intelligence allegedly a kind of leaders use this conference call to discuss plans for
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a pending attack now if you think it's a little fishy that al qaeda leaders would suddenly begin using global conference calls to plan their attacks you're not the only one after the story broke journalist with the a.p. the washington post the los angeles times immediately cast doubt on it and argued that the government's account of what happened just doesn't add up but even if it does add up there's an even bigger problem which is that a critical intelligence operation against al qaeda was leaked likely putting at risk that entire operation moving forward and really isn't that far more damaging to our intelligence communities than anything edward snowden has leaked so far so the question is why is there no our age or demand for espionage charges coming from the government today. now this alleged global terror threat that forced the closing of nearly two dozen diplomatic posts also set off a flurry of drone strikes in yemen in nearly the last two weeks several drone strikes have been carried out against targets in yemen reportedly killing suspected
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militants in fact there have been three such drone strikes in yemen in just the past day but as we're getting used to seeing in our drone war campaigns exactly who's being killed on the ground is unclear the washington post reported on wednesday officials said tuesday there is no indication that senior al qaeda operatives in yemen have been killed in the drone strikes it's too early to tell whether we've actually disrupted anything a senior u.s. official said the renewed drone bombing campaign in yemen comes just as a new report from the bureau of investigative journalism alleges that one of the most controversial tactics of the drone war so-called double tap strikes is still in use by the cia now a double tap strike refers to a series of drone strikes against one particular target so that a second or third strike usually comes just as first responders and rescuers are responding to the first strike your investigators have referred to this tactic as a war crime but the bureau of investigative journalism says that five such double
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tap drone strikes occurred in a single village in pakistan in the middle of two thousand and twelve and i was joined earlier by investigative journalist chris woods who has been involved in carrying out some of the leading investigations in the cia drone strikes in recent years and is currently writing a book on the u.s. covert drone war i asked him what's the usefulness and double tap drone strikes and is it just about terrorizing the enemy at this point. i mean i've been looking at these double tap starts for a couple of years now they are definitely happening i have no doubt about that a tool working with the bureau of investigative journalism i care that two major field investigations in pakistan on this side are coming back absolutely clear that these strikes are happening this deliberate targeting of rescuers on the scene of a previous strike why are they doing it i think partly to ensure that the original intended targets are killed and going back and making sure that anyone in addition is drawn into that strike is killed but i do think there is
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a significant element of terror here in these strikes it causes a profound level of fear in these communities and it's interesting tonight that we first brought. jenison first broke the story of the double track strikes in february twenty twelve not a single u.s. official has yet to deny that claim the best we've had is the deputy u.s. ambassador of pakistan saying we don't deliberately target civilians and these double tap strikes so now i do know it's a lot of absolutely clear that these type strikes are taking place and they were going to get nasty and there. has been there's been an increase in drone strikes in yemen here in the last few days is this attributed to this kind of global terror threat that we've heard of is there something else behind them what do you think. i'm absolutely sure it's linked to the global terror threat and it is worrying as well the u.s. has this rule book now which all the stricter rules which are supposed to limit
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civilian deaths in places like pakistan and yemen but unfortunately the moment this this crisis came to light that rulebook appears to good and significantly it's right answer there with the washington post is reporting that many of these strikes that it's taking place in the yemen right now are simply buying time for the u.s. intelligence community while it finds out what's going on and because the rule book is been thrown out because they're taking less care over these strikes there's a much greater risk of civilians being killed and that's what we're seeing c.n.n. reporting this morning that two civilians were among those killed in the early hours of this morning in a strike in yemen so the strikes are reacting to this outcry the terrorist threat we're getting a bigger swing in attacks which in turn is generating more civilian deaths and the risk of civilian deaths we can to risk small backlash thinking on things like yemen where i remember it was just a few months ago that the president gave his national security speech any announce these new presidential guidelines that would govern future drone strikes spread as
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you said it appears that there's have been kind of thrown out the window here clearly there is a lack of congressional oversight over what's going on in the drone warfare that was revealed during brennan's nomination to head the cia. do you think members of congress are aware of double tap drone strikes and if not you know how do you think they would react to that and how could they not be aware of it if you're out here talking about it there is no way that congress is is unaware of these double tax strikes i just don't think they're interested in investigating them i think they may have spoken with the cia and cia has assured them that there's not a problem that i was five is a big problem in washington right now the senate and house intelligence oversight committee just doing their job in my opinion for example when. dianne feinstein the chair of the senate intelligence committee said during john brennan's confirmation hearing as head of cia that she done most to find out the civilian casualties were
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in line numbers afterwards i contacted every single guys i should that carried out field work in pakistan into civilian deaths whatever the outcome of those investigations every one of them came back to me and confirmed they've never been contacted by congressional oversight committees there isn't any oversight outside the u.s. intelligence community it's a self-referential system. and i think when things go wrong as that occasionally do oversight has to mean stepping outside your comfort zone asking some difficult questions and asking what's really going on we're in the midst of the anniversary of dropping nuclear bombs on hiroshima and nagasaki and at the time when we dropped those bombs we were completely unaware of the long term consequences of that sort of warfare here we are several years now into this drone warfare program we have this issue of double tap drone strikes do you think the administration is fully aware of the long term consequences of carrying out this sort of global drone war
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all across all i said global all across the globe. i don't think any of us are aware of the consequences we can look back on the invasion of iraq by the u.s. and u.k. chain years ago and some of the polling consequences that were at least from the radicalization of many young muslim men charis to track attacks across europe many attempted terrorist attacks on the united states some of which seated as a direct consequence of that one can look at the drone strikes in this you might get some of the patterns of behavior there's no mixed evidence on life at the moment certainly clearly is how unpopular these drone strikes are internationally known just in the countries that are being gone but all across europe u.s. drone strikes deeply unpopular among some of the united states' closest allies who is in deep discomfort. right we left we mused here in the u.k. for example there's no difference when it comes to covering the drone strikes they are cowed negatively this is a problem for the united states that i think isn't just about the relationship with
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the muslim world it's about the relationship to the u.s. and the international community and it's a message of journalist chris woods thank you so much. so what exactly does it take to reach thousand followers on twitter or get ten thousand likes on your facebook posts or i should ask what exactly does it cost to reach a thousand followers see in the age of social media and determining your influence by how many followers or friends you have there's a growing market for those who wish to buy their influence yes for a few bucks you can buy followers on twitter or likes on facebook fact during his presidential bid in two thousand and twelve most of newt gingrich's twitter followers were fake bought and paid for and the u.s. state department shelled out six hundred thirty thousand dollars between two thousand and eleven and this year promoting the facebook posts and before twitter
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newspaper circulation or t.v. ratings numbers made it possible to quantify the readership in reach of a particularly news organization but now when social media followers can just be bought do we have to throw the old metrics and determine influence out of the window i'll discuss this issue i was joined by ashton moore digital media specialist i make the strategic and charlie warts all deputy editor of buzz feed forward and i started by asking charlie a facebook likes and twitter followers have any meaning anymore. well absolutely in an organic sense i think it's probably it's difficult to estimate who is real and who is not but you get a general sense especially you know online with a lot of journalists and people who have become personalities on twitter. and on facebook you know those people you can really get an idea that they understand and know what they're talking about and that they're following have grown because
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they've learned them it's a little harder in the world of brands and with some of the offbeat celebrity types but yeah i think they still matter i should do you think. do you think twitter followers is an acceptable acceptable social media strategy depends on what your strategy is a comprehensive targeted strategy will actually have a plan to organically build an audience because you're sharing valuable content to buy followers is to essentially say that you don't have enough valuable content to organically gain those followers i would say so to buy them not only negatively impacts you because you're already admitting that you're not going to take the time to build a strategy but it also means that when you buy them most of the time they're just robots and drones and people who are real and so they'll never share and they'll
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never like and they'll never retreat if it's twitter that content that you produce . yeah i guess you're. said you're kind of conceding that you don't have anything when you start buying followers but couldn't doesn't that set off like a quote unquote arms race when certain people are buying followers and you want to try and have influence too because let's face it when you're on twitter and you see them you don't know you look at their followers. is that a concern. there's a k. . to be made that actually you know a small brand starting out or a. really low level celebrity type could by a small amount say go from one hundred to a thousand followers in order to sort of you know build that base i think that's frowned upon but i think the real question here is you know when you're looking at buying a million followers for thirteen hundred dollars i mean you can't really buy influence
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at a price like that it just sort of doesn't seem to play out mathematically and people people are wise to this i think should moving forward how are we supposed to determine the reach an influence of individuals i mean if you look at think of twitter each individual person is almost a journalistic entity out there trying to get their message across or whatever they're trying to do on twitter how can we determine the reach and influence if there's so many bots floating around with people there it's a great question and when you when you're determining if you asked me if you said look at this account by the fake are they real we wouldn't have to so much go into their actual people and look at them on buy one but what we could look at is the kind of reach that they have there are things like klout that that tell people how many people are affected how many people reach there are other things other social sharing tools online that will tell you how many people are just engaging on for example your facebook page and so quick an easy way to do it would be to say does this person have a million followers if yes then does this is the person getting commentary are they
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getting feedback or are they getting input are people sharing their message and their brand and if the answer is no and it's a quick and easy way to make an educated guess that there's a million followers may have been bought. charlie last question i'm picturing a time the not too distant future and we might already be there when bots are outnumbering actual people on these social network platforms what does that do to things like twitter and facebook does it affect them at all. i think that it's in all the. on the sophistication there are accounts they're not necessarily bots i mean some bots do re tweet and and like things like that but. you know in general i think that people people figure this out and you can look at an account that only retreats you know a certain person or a certain publication it's very obvious digital media specialist ashton more than charlie wartell deputy editor of buzz feed forward thank you both
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a criticism often leveled at our lawmakers is that they seem to exist above the law this criticism has particular relevance in colorado where a local c.b.s. news affiliate in denver launched an investigation into how special license plates allow state lawmakers to break traffic laws with impunity these license plates are issued to colorado's one hundred senators and representatives every two years but they are not put in the state d.m.v. database. so when dimmers photo radar cameras caught them speeding they never got tickets because denver could not electronically cross-reference their plate with a home address now the city of denver has identified sixteen different law maker license plates that have racked up twenty one hundred dollars in fines and penalties that have never been paid after this immunity was expose the city announced that it would track down those lawmakers who have unpaid tickets but now
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the city says such actions would be too expensive. member of the two thousand and six movie snakes on a plane well new york city has decided to make the long awaited sequel sharks' on a train. yesterday just past midnight passengers on the queens bound and train discovered a small dead shark lying beneath one of the subway seats according to brandon sanchez an n.y.u. student and one of the first witnesses of many jaws the shark appeared to have been dead for a while because the train car smelled terrible the new york metro transit authority said that shortly after the shark sighting was reported the conductor of the train moved everyone out of the train car placed it in a trash bag and threw it in the garbage when the train reached the end of the line when asked if the m.t.a. has a shark disposal procedure in place a transit authority spokesman quipped live sharks are wrangled by shark maintainer
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two who have passed the qualification test and have a minimum three years in the shark maintain or one title dead ones are handled by shark maintainer ones or if none are available on that shift then by aquatic mammal and bill are two got it a tipster told the website gothamist that the shark likely came from a coney island beach goer who found it washed ashore but here's a suggestion for the m.t.a. next time this happens just call samuel l. jackson and that's going to do it for now for more on the stories we covered go to youtube dot com slash r t america and check out our website artie dot com slash usa and you can follow me on twitter at sam sachs and we'll see you back here at eight pm.
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wealthy british style. time buyers. market why not succumb to. find out what's really happening to the global economy with max cons or for a no holds barred look at the global financial headlines tune in to kaiser report.

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